In the Name of the Moon!

Many children of my generation (the 90’s) were presented with female empowerment through the Sailor Moon anime. I was introduced to this series through the ’90s American dub which eventually lead me to reading the manga and hunting down the Japanese version (subbed of course). The story follows fourteen year-old Usagi Tsukino (known as Serena to  American audiences via the 90s dub of the anime) and her friends, who transform into planetary sailor soldiers using their powers to protect the Earth from evil forces seeking to destroy it.  As the series that sparked my interest in manga, anime and cosplay (which has only grown in the years since) it holds a very special place in my heart.

So in honor of it being June 30th, the canon birthday of Sailor Moon/Princess Serenity herself, Usagi Tsukino, I’m sharing  a few of the messages and themes from this series that had a profound influence on me as well as a generation of young men and women.  Disclaimer: A version of this post was published on the 4 Real Women International blog site in 2014 but has since been take down.  Also while there are so many incarnations of Sailor Moon (the manga, the 90’s anime, the stage shows known as Sera Myu and the live action series, PGSM) this blog post will only make reference to the manga and the ’90s anime. Continue reading

Turning 29 in Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto

Once I heard that the the third annual Su-Style Expo, the premier plus size event for Latinas, would be happening on May 4th, literally the day after my birthday, I took this to be a sign that it was finally time for me to go to Puerto Rico. My mother spent over 4 years there working on her BS in Biology before immigrating to the US and so I grew up listening to my mother call Puerto Rico as her “Segunda Patria” (Translation: Second homeland). Having heard her stories and seen pictures of her adventures there, I dreamed about the day that I would be able to travel to “La Isla del Encanto” myself.

My mother’s birthday is a week before mine and she hasn’t been back since she left in 1987 so I figured that  a mother-daughter trip would also be a great birthday present for her. (And by extension, Mother’s Day present too because that was a week after our trip and I was pretty broke after this, hahaha!) So I bought our tickets, booked the hotel and told her to pack her bags. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so excited.

I had originally planned to do a full-fledged travel vlog complete with a pina colada counter (because there were many, I mean it is Puerto Rico after all), but alas I was having a bit too much fun to take video too seriously. However I still wanted to share a bit about our trip so check it out below!

Day 1 – Travel Day

My mother and I haven’t been on a plane together since 2007 when we flew down to Panama as a family for my great-grandmother’s funeral so it was a nice change of pace to be traveling someplace for fun rather than obligation. The entire time in the airport I caught my mother looking around the airport muttering, “No puedo creer que vamos a Puerto Rico!” (Translation: I can’t believe we’re going to Puerto Rico!)

The face of complete joy at being back.

Even with all the excitement, our first day on the island just consisted of picking up our rental car and settling into our hotel. My mother had to cram three days of work into two in order to get the rest of the week off so she was pretty beat by the time we got to the airport and I had actually stayed up the night before repacking my suitcase for the fourth time so we were pretty tired to do any of the things that I had on the agenda for the day besides getting something to eat. Continue reading

Women Made of Metal

Today marks the end to yet another Women’s History Month and I thought a great way to end the month would be to highlight some serious girl power that is found in my favorite music genre – metal. Yes, the metal community is predominately male, with women treated as a novelty meant to be seen and not heard,  but women continue to make their mark in spite of it all, from leading bands to even being the subject of songs.

So here are just 5 songs sung by (and in one instance about) metal queens that I have had on repeat for most of this month that have inspired as well as motivated me. I know that metal is not everyone’s thing but I invite you to turn your volume up and rock out a bit.  \m/><\m/

1. Roots by In This Moment

American gothic metal band, In This Moment and their lead singer Maria Brink are my current obsessions. (Honestly, the more I read about this woman the more I love her and want to list to everything she has ever recorded.) It started when I put my friend’s Beats headphones on and heard the chorus of their song, Joan of Arc , from their 2017 album, Ritual – a concept album about the Salem Witch Trials. It was amazing and the only reason that song is not on this list is because Roots just has this feeling of compete defiance in spite of every challenge and/or person that attempts to bring you down and that is extremely empowering. Even if metal is not your cup of tea, I highly recommend you at least give this song a chance.

Favorite Lyric:  …I’m stronger than I ever knew, I’m strong because of you…

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I Hosted a Resume Party!

By now it is pretty much common knowledge that 68% of  American women wear a size 14 and over. However, one thing that isn’t included with this statistic is the economic disparities that come from work place discrimination based on weight and size. According to a 2016 study by the Census Bureu, workers who are heavier than the average are paid $1.25 less an hour and over a 40 year career, they will earn up to $100,000 less before taxes than their thinner counterparts.   As you can imagine these numbers just get more complex and disheartening once, gender, race and ethnicity comes to play.

It was with all this in mind that I decided to host a resume party – an informal gathering for the purpose of getting resume feedback and discuss goals, and other career development insights. Originally this was just going to be simple. Just a few of my friends in my living room, probably talking over some pizza, however, once I started writing out the “guest list” I realized that this needed to be a bit bigger than what I was planning. Of the eight people that were to be in attendance, six of us are influencers building and maintaining our own individual brands, be it for beauty and fashion, fashion illustration, food or makeup artistry, while also doing  out best to prosper in our traditional careers outside of that social media sphere.

You can’t have any kind of party without snacks!

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Black Rose Heart

Aesthetically Valentine’s day could be considered to be the direct opposite of Halloween, yet if you were to look at the origins of this  particular holiday you’d find that it actually has a lot more in common with Halloween than you’d think.  So you can understand how easy it was for me to ditch the traditional V-day aesthetic of cutesy red, hearts and flowers for black hearts, skulls and blood red roses this year.  I took this as a chance to style a Victorian goth look for the day. Of course goth style is not very affordable but I figured I should treat myself. After all, Valentine’s day is a holiday set aside for love so why not celebrate my love for myself by splurging on something stylish and elegant, right?  Also I find nothing more romantic than textures that remind me of a different time like lace and velvet – both of which come together really well with this soft velvet shirt dress. 

I kept accessories to a minimum because the lace-bib and trim already elevates the traditional shirtdress style, but I did add this silver plated vintage inspired locket to keep within my theme. Heart shaped lockets were very popular in the 19th century. They represented love and contained portraits, or locks of hair to represent romantic love for another. While mine is currently empty, that didn’t hold me back from being a Victorian aristocratic lady pinning for her lost love for a day. Continue reading